I took a trip to Las Vegas in January of 2019 with my bestie, Matt, to see Lady Gaga in concert, and to just enjoy time away from the East Coast.
We had a blast and the trip was fab and fun and beautiful and great. However, when I was there, I noticed I could not keep my skin hydrated. I brought all my fancy products with me and was sticking to my high-end, moisture-forward regimen, but my skin was not the same. Las Vegas was a bit chilly at the time, maybe around 50 degrees F depending on the time of day, but it was sunny and nice. It was also a bit windy. But we chalked up this phenomenon (Matt noticed the dryness as well) to the fact that we were basically in the middle of the desert and of course it’s more than just a bit dryer than most places.
Upon flying home and returning to my apartment, I hopped in the shower and did my usual facial care regimen. I honestly don’t recall what I was using on my face at the time, but I believe for my cleanser I was using Dr. Hauschka Soothing Cleansing Milk. I used to wash my face in the shower (if you cleanse your face in the shower, don’t ever put your face directly under the hot stream of water, but instead, pool the water in your hands and rinse your face that way, since the heat can damage your skin and break capillaries or whatever) and then I would do all of my moisturizers and treatments right after, while my face was still damp and supple. On this post-Vegas occasion, my face felt extremely irritated and burny in the shower, but I just kept to my routine, thinking once I finished my regimen, my face would calm down. I got out of the shower and proceeded to use the rest of my products (at this point, I was definitely on my way to having a “clean beauty” regimen, since I’ve always been pretty skeptical about chemicals and toxicity in products, but had never really done any research, and was actually very unaware about the actual toxin-content of the products I was using). I followed my toning (can’t remember the product) with one of my favorite brands, Herbivore Botanicals (this is actually a very clean brand, so I still recommend), applying their Pink Cloud Rosewater Moisture Crème. I may have used some other products in between or after, I don’t really remember. All I remember is that several minutes into my routine, and WELL after, my face went up in flames, and not only hurt, but also looked so unsightly, blotchy, firey, and practically purple.
I was not a happy camper in this image, so please excuse the scowl.
I didn’t really know what was going on at the time, since I had such devout faith in my intricate blend of brand-specific, carefully curated potions; but I was pretty sure my products no longer liked my face and vice versa, and that the dryness and harsh climate of Western United States had jacked up my derma.
Aside from my inherent skin sensitivity, I had no idea how much nourishment my skin needed post-Vegas. My face was dying for moisture and lots of it, on a consistent basis. The products I had been using were delivering a false sense of moisture, or perhaps just not as much as I truly needed, and it took time for my skin to rewire and get the nutrients it needed to return to normal-ish. I say “ish” because it’s winter now, and my face can get rosy and sensitive and dry from a simple 15-minute walk outside. However, now I know to go home and use my gentle, toxin-free, moisturizing products to calm it down, and I have never had any flare ups since. The only time my face flares up now is if I use a new product and my skin doesn’t like it.
Over the next year, I started gradually taking products out of my regimen (I actually found that I could no longer use ANY of the products I had been using, without triggering a massive and painful skin reaction, so I put them all in a bag and buried them in the back of my closet). Upon Matt’s advice (we basically have the same skin type, the same life path, the same soul, etc.), I switched to simply using a Cetaphil Gentle Cleansing Bar in the shower, CeraVe Face Moisturizer with SPF 30 (gotta have that SPF no matter what), and CeraVe eye cream. I also visited my dermatologist, thinking I might have rosacea. She confirmed I did not, although couldn’t exactly explain what I had, and attributed it to some kind of skin sensitivity or allergy. She prescribed Tacrolimus .1% ointment to try to calm the reactions I was having. It worked, sorta, but I wanted to find some better and more natural solutions. I wanted to get to the bottom of what was happening.
I wish I could share with you the process of how my current, beautiful, 100% Toxin-Free, Anti-Aging, Beauty Regimen came to be. But it was a pretty organic process and it was essentially trial and error. It is now February 2020, and I think I have settled on a schema that really works for me.
Along the way, I discovered the EWG (Environmental Working Group) Skin Deep website. On this website, they have a “Skin Deep Guide To Cosmetics” and I don’t even consider purchasing any products without running the ingredients up against this database. My current skin care regimen is basically inspired by this database and I do swear by it.
When using this site, you can decide for yourself how clean you want to go. For me, I decided from the start that if I was going to do this, I may as well see if I can find beautiful products with NO toxins, whatsoever. There are SO not as many “clean” and “toxin-free” products as one would hope for (the US is the worst and other countries outside of the US have much higher standards, enforce greater restrictions, and in general, do a better job of caring about the health of their citizens, at least when it comes to skin care), so checking in a database like this is really the only way I have found that I can be certain. “Clean Beauty” is so trendy right now and every company is calling their products “clean,” so be careful and check for sure when considering a purchase.
Each product that this database has in their system, has an ingredient score (if I can’t find a product, this often means that it may not have been updated in the database, in which case, I anal-retentively run EACH individual ingredient in the product, through the database, to test for its toxicity). The scores range from 1 to 10, 1 being the cleanest, and 10 being the most toxic. I don’t purchase any product unless every single ingredient has a score of either 1, or sometimes 2, with a few exceptions.
If you are in the green, you are looking good…
You would be amazed by how many products that claim to be clean and natural and organic and whatever else, are like a 5 or 7 or even a 10 on the toxicity scale! I won’t call out any products, but you should check things out for yourself.
As I age and continue to compare myself to my peers, as many of us do, I see more and more women and men choosing invasive procedures, or even just super strong products to combat their maturing skin. I am absolutely making a conscious choice to select natural products and processes over a perfectly wrinkle-free face, and in keeping with my philosophy about my gray hair, I just think it’s an abomination to reject Mother Nature’s process. She weaves a beautiful web of wonder in every fraction of every moment of every day, and her magic touches every square inch of Earth. I’m pretty sure she knows what she’s doing, and her efforts to aid in the decaying process of humanity reach every last one of us. Supermodels in their 60s look old, just like the rest of us. No one escapes MN’s reach, so why try to fight her? I think it’s kind of embarrassing to see someone trying so hard to resist the inevitable. Instead, I choose to embrace and honor the work she does for all of us and am trying (don’t get me wrong, it’s not easy!) to accept my aging body with grace.
Grace > Wrinkles.
So, without further ado, I give you my current, 100% Toxin-Free, Anti-Aging, Beauty Regimen. One thing I have to say is that in switching out my products, I did have to get rid of products that had beautiful and delicious fragrances. That used to be one of my favorite parts of my ablution routine, experiencing the uplifting, transcendent scents and smells wafting from every bottle. But I have since learned that many products that claim to be clean, hide some of their more toxic chemicals under the vague ingredient listed as “fragrance” in their ingredient list. So that “fragrance,” listing is not always to be trusted, and if you are really interested in going clean, it’s best to just go fragrance-free.
THE GODDESS ATTAINABLE’S 100% TOXIC-FREE, ANTI-AGING, BEAUTY REGIMEN
I have constructed this list in the order that each product should be applied.
Image obtained from here.
I don’t ever cleanse in the shower anymore. After a shower, or anytime I’m ready to start my routine, I use plain old 100% raw organic honey to cleanse my face. The effects of this brilliant stuff have been unbelievable and quite apparent. Honey applied to the face moisturizes, nourishes, exfoliates (if you buy super raw honey that still contains the propolis and granules and bee pollen, the texture of the granules acts as a natural and gentle exfoliator), and cleans, all in one shot. Honey is highly anti-bacterial, so it will sufficiently clean but will not clog pores or cause breakouts. The more raw the honey, the more anti-microbial and anti-oxidant properties contained within the honey (good for fighting free-radicals and stuff). I just scoop a small amount onto my fingers and then run my fingers for a split second (that’s all you need) under the water, in order to make the honey less sticky and more emulsified. It goes on like a liquid cleanser and rinses off easily with no residue. I usually massage for a minute or so and when I’m feeling really dry, I leave on for a few minutes before I rinse off, kind of like a mini-mask. Try it!
- Anywhere from $12-$50 depending on how crazy you wanna get. Cheap, raw, organic honey is totally all you need.
Maybe I should tone, but I don’t. I don’t really know why I need to or what toning really does, and I am honestly trying to keep the cost of this regimen as low as possible. The price of each product can range in varying degrees of obnoxiousness, but each product should last quite a while, so there is some payoff.
Most eye creams give me little red bumpies around my eyes. This one doesn’t. And it received all green scores on the EWG website (all 1s and one score of 2). Biossance Squalane + Marine Algae Eye Cream. I have found all Biossance products to be extremely clean and I love this company. You can find their products at Sephora or order online.
- $54 but lasts for months and months and months (maybe even a year, you don’t need to use much at a time)
I discovered another awesomely clean company called Knours (based in New Jersey with a focus on hormone-conscious products), and many of their products score very well on the EWG website. I use these Be Kind To Your Skin Masks about once a week. They feel sooooo soothing and kind of put me to sleep when I use them (they are loaded with relaxing lavender). They do not irritate, and only have one higher scoring ingredient (rating of 4). This ingredient is Pelargonium Graveolens (Rose Geranium) Oil, which as far as I’m concerned is a very natural ingredient. However, many natural botanicals can irritate the skin and/or produce allergies, so I think this is why this rating is a bit higher. I haven’t had any trouble, but you can purchase these one mask at a time and test it out of you want. Yay!
- $4 for one mask / $15 for a box of 5
In the morning, I use a serum to give me that smooth and dewy look (I look SOOOO dewy when I use this). Silk Theraputics Purely Radiant Hydrating Serum has one ingredient that is rated as a 4 as well, Rose Canina (Dog Rose) Fruit Oil, and I don’t feel too concerned about this one either, since it’s another pure plant oil. This product line uses silk that comes out of snails butts or something, I don’t really know, but my face looks like alabaster when I use it, so…I’m in! It also only contains 9 ingredients, and all of them non-toxic. That’s almost unbelievable in this crazy, anti-aging skin care industry, but there you have it.
- This one is $85 (gross, I know), but should last for months and you can also purchase a trial size for I think $18 that lasts for 2 weeks, to make sure you don’t have a negative reaction to the product, and to make sure you want to invest in the full size. I took advantage of the trial size and decided I really did see a difference when using it, so then purchased the full size.
In the evening, the final treatment product I recommend is Herbivore Botanicals Bakuchiol Retinol Alternative Serum. Retinol is actually the only proven cosmetic ingredient to reduce wrinkles and fine lines (like it actually works, for real), but it is quite toxic and very intense. Anyone who uses actual retinol deals with varying degrees of redness and peeling on a regular basis. That’s just how it is. However, I would like to be proactive about my anti-aging process and since I choose to go all natural, I think it’s okay to try a plant-based, retinol alternative. My face absolutely appears tighter, brighter, and firmer when I use this product, so I am sticking with it. But since it does act like a retinol, if you use this, you should introduce it into your regimen slowly to see how your skin reacts. I started with once a week and them bumped up to twice a week and will continue to keep bumping up if I want to. You should also use an SPF if you are using any retinols or retinol alternatives. Bakuchiol gets a 1 rating on the EWG website, so this one is safe as heck.
- This one is $54, but again, lasts at least 6 months and even less if you aren’t using it every day.
Biossance Squalene + Omega Repair Cream ranks almost 100% clean on the EWG website, with one ingredient rated as a 2 instead of a 1. This moisturizer feels honestly like velvet (fragrance-free, so no fun there, but worth it) and has never, ever, ever irritated my skin. Also a note that when I first started using this, I would go through so much, so fast, and found that if I scooped only a small amount and rubbed it in, it would disappear too quickly and before it was all absorbed. Then I saw some beauty guru YouTube girl using it, and she just took a dab, rubbed it between her fingers, and patted it on her face, like you would with La Mer. This technique works just as well (if not better, because it makes my SPF absorb more cleanly afterwards) and makes this product last eons longer.
- $58 for a small tub and lasts for months when you pat on a small amount and don’t rub in the product
No need to use this at night for obvious reasons, but if you are new to all of this, just note that SPF is really just for sun protection during the day and is to go on over all of your other products.
This might actually be my favorite product of all of my products, because of the way it makes my face look after all is said and done. It’s kind of like magic. I use Beekman 1802 Triple Milk Primer SPF 35 in the morning after I have applied all other products. This product has all clean ingredients with a 1 rating, with only one ingredient showing as a 2 on the EWG website. This company uses goat milk as the base of most of their products and they are based in upstate New York (how cute!). When you pump the product into your hands, it really does kind of come out like milk and is very liquid-y. I use two pumps (it smells kinda earthy and almost like baby powder, and is fragrance-free) and this is enough to cover my face and part of my neck. Since this product acts as a primer as well as an SPF, it’s perfect for a make-up base. I don’t use make-up, but the priming aspect just evens out my skin tone, makes my face look dewy and supple, and feels super light and airy. I do notice that it takes a few minutes to “set,” and then it’s like pure glow.
- $30 for a bottle and lasts about 6 months
**Please note that the EWG website is updated constantly, so it’s good to check on the products you are using to make sure their scores are staying in the green. As more information is released, ratings of ingredients can change, so every once in awhile, perhaps once a year, or once every six months, double-check the site to make sure your products are staying aligned with your standards**
There you have it, folks. My 100% Toxin-Free, Anti-Aging, Beauty Regimen. I strongly encourage you to do your own research, not only on the products you are already using, but when searching for new products. I’m not an expert, but this is what has been working for me for the last year and I am loving it. This regimen works especially well for people with sensitive skin, and also 40-year-old skin 🙂
Have fun! Here are some au natural pics from over the last few months, now that my face is feeling happy again…
Talking to my sister while she’s snapping. 12.8.19
Beloved tribe member on the left, me in the middle, beloved tribe member and twin sister on the right. Christmas Eve Brunch with friends and lovers. 12.24.19
Me happy to be holding my friend’s baby, Avery. 1.27.20